Judith Gives Family Violin She Discovers to Young Alberto

Alberto is a 10-year-old violin student at Escuela Elemental de Arte Paulita Concepción. This devoted young music student now owns his
own instrument thanks to our friend Judith Augustine! Judith has been following the work
we do at Horns to Havana since our inception. One day while cleaning out her attic, she found
a beautiful violin that her grandmother Rosetta
had played in 1920 when she was the first female soloist with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. Judith sent it to our partners David and Judy at David Gage String Instruments to be repaired
and refurbished. Once it was gleaming with new promise, we presented it to Alberto this past July in Havana. What a thrill for all of us when he began to play it for us. He was filled with joy and pride and hope for all that is to come through it, and so are we. Thank you, Judith!
















Jorge Sergio Ramirez – From Student to Professor

Jorge Sergio Ramirez became very emotional upon seeing the new saxophone we gave him in New Orleans this past January during our residency with the legendary Preservation Hall Foundation. We first met Jorge in 2013 when he was a 15-year-old student at Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán, one of the most acclaimed music academies in Cuba.

Our programs have enabled Jorge to study and perform with master jazz musicians at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Preservation Hall, and the Stanford Jazz Workshop. As of last month, Jorge is now a professor at is alma mater and will be able to forge new music and cultural paths for his students.












U.S. Teenager Nick Raises $3000 to Support Horns To Havana

A young man named Nick was so moved by his trip to Cuba that he wrote us the following email.

Hi. I’m a senior at North Shore High School
on Long Island. Recently my school’s music department went on a performance tour to Cuba, and we visited the Guillermo Tomas Music Conservatory in Havana. After coming back, I fundraised to purchase instruments for the conservatory. I now have a few instruments and about $3000 that I want to donate to Horns to Havana.

Nick and his dad Bob visited us at our New York City office to deliver the four horns and the financial donation. Our instrument partner Andy Frobig and his shop, Frobig Wind Repair, blessed the instruments, which – along with the money raised by Nick’s benefit concert – will be brought to Havana this spring by our education advisor Yosvany Terry, when he and his Harvard jazz band travel down. These are the stories that delight us and touch our hearts. Thank you, Nick, for helping our students and for your big heart!]












David Navarro Meets His Idol and Is Named Best Trumpeter

Trumpeter David Navarro never thought he would meet his idol, the Pulitzer Prize-winning founder of Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) Wynton Marsalis. But he did, because Horns to Havana worked tirelessly behind the scenes to bring Cuban high school music students to the biggest international high school band competition there is - the Essentially Ellington Festival.

In May of this year, David and members of Orquesta Juvenil de Jazz de Cuba performed as the special exhibition guest band. This was the first time a Cuban band had ever been invited to the festival. This night David also won the award for best trumpeter, even though our students technically could not compete.

That honor resulted in his being invited to participate as one of only 42 high school students in JALC’s two-week summer jazz camp at Bard College this past summer. Remember his name!

















The Traveling Bassist Darianna Inspires a Fundraiser

In 2011 teen-aged bassist Darianna began traveling 22 hours by bus from Guantanamo to train as a luthier in our “el taller,” our instrument repair shop. She has worked under the tutelage of our master luthier David Gage each year since.

El taller has made over 4500 instrument repairs and continues to service student musicians like Darianna from the music schools and performers from the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. It also has created jobs by training Cuban luthiers.

In the summer of 2014, Vickie and Noah, friends of Horns to Havana, were so impressed by Darianna’s commitment to her music and repair work that they gave a fundraiser for her in their Berkeley, California, community to raise money to buy her a new bass. Her instructor David Gage and his wife, Judy (one of our board members) helped too and made sure the bass was perfect.

Darianna has since moved to Havana and is teaching and performing and still repairing instruments whenever she is called upon.

















Creating Jobs For Servando Rubio and Others

Instruments are essential to make music – and musicians.

Horns to Havana creates jobs by training Cuban instrument technicians such as Servando Rubio, a wind repair specialist we brought to New York City in the summers of 2016 and 2017 to train with one of our master U.S. repair technicians Tim Moran.

To date we have donated over 400 instruments and have made almost 5000 repairs from our repair workshop in Havana, which has provided jobs for local instrument artisans and apprenticeships for music students.